Saturday, June 09, 2007

Aroids, Part XIII

Yes, this is a real plant; no, it shouldn't be growing outside in Iowa. This is the voodoo lily Sauromatum venosum (now called Typhonium venosum, also going under Sauromatum guttatum and Arum comutum... this thing has more names than a dog has fleas). I've related before on this blog how it came to be plunked down in an Iowa garden; it is a subtropical and tropical plant, native mainly to the Himalayan area, but also apparently resides in Africa... it is supposedly hardy to zone 7 (we're 5a). Some good gardening friends grow these in pots, and gave me a tuber a few years ago. I decided to pop it in the garden for the summer, then dig it up in the fall (it is then repotted in the spring, blooms on a naked stalk, then puts out its leaves). Unfortunately in the fall, I not only forgot to dig it up, I forgot even where I planted it (you'd have to tour my garden to fully understand this). I felt quite badly that I had lost my friends' gift, but did what I felt was right; I vowed never to mention it to them, and hope they forgot to ever ask me how it was doing.
One fine spring day the next year, I was walking along the main entry path in the garden, musing about how beautiful the garden looked, when a smell assailed my nose that can only be described as akin to some creature that didn't smell too good to start with, that had now died in the bushes. On looking down, this "thing" (I wasn't sure I could call it a flower) was sitting there, looking like a kitchen utensil from Mars; it was the voodoo lily, blooming in odiferous splendor. It has a spathe that is pale lemon yellow, heavily spotted purple, and a long, stiff spadix that looks like it's made out of plastic. It later put up a tall (almost 3 ft.) stalk that is very heavily spotted, with large leaflets at the top, like a hand with the fingers spread. It has continued to bloom every year since, unaware that it doesn't belong here. I of course could have picked a better spot to plant it that wasn't right by the main path, but that's all water over the dam. I didn't plan on it blooming there in the first place, and then always figured if I moved it, it would suddenly realize it shouldn't survive the winter here.
This fall, though, I think I'll dig it up and find it a spot that's a little more out of the way... or at least downwind.
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That's pretty cool. I really jealous I have a couple of bulbs I was given by someone as "voodoo lilies" that I am too scared to plant here in the ground. So I have them growing in a nursery pot for their second year.

I've only gotten foliage bu I'm hoping to get a flower some days.
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